Accepted paper:

Molecular repressing of fears that is about sex which is genetically constructed


Aleksandra Derra (Nicolas Copernicus University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Genetics has promised to resolve doubts concerning human nature (including nature of sexes), which I interpret as a special way of dealing with human fears that have appeared together with development of modern science and technologies. It concerns especially fears of the interventions in natural environment and applications of the results of the research in genetics to medicine, both of which have changed the society and its values. Genetics was supposed to find causal correlations between given genes and organisms' properties, to explain the source of diseases, peculiarities of human reproduction process or even personalities and social relations. Unequivocal explanations were needed to calm us down, to reduce fears, to allow us to state that this is how we are 'by nature' made.

In this paper I use some results of my previous research of the way genetics employs the notion of gene, of the heritage of historically developed metaphors in genetics, of the methods of constructing genetically determined sex. I want to point out that oversimplified genetic definition of masculinity has established quite stable model of the phenomenon of biological sex. It has quickly become a part of common sense being able to dispel certain fears about its nature. However recent studies and feminist critiques have shown the narrow-mindedness of these views. I am going to argue that genetics provides the evidence that biological sex is more complex and complicated that it has been assumed, contrary to its promises leaving us with even more doubts and probably fears.

panel J1
Situating gendered solidarities in epistemic cultures of science, technology, and other areas of academic practice